Last Night: Rooney at Chop Suey

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Taylor Locke, Rooney’s guitarist and harmony vocalist, stares at the crowd in between singing during Monday’s show at Chop Suey. Check out more photos and exclusive interview material with frontman Robert Carmine here.

Watching the guys who are Rooney play a few songs during the sound check around 4 p.m., I couldn’t help feeling that they were all very much at home, crowd or not. Seeing them on the same stage a few hours later — this time surrounded by adoring fans — they looked just the same. And though frontman Robert Carmine told me earlier that the guys were getting tired — mentally, physically and of each other, understandable after a long stretch of touring — you’d never know that watching them perform.

I’ll get to more on them in a bit. First, a few words about openers Locksley: these Wisconsin-to-Brooklyn transplants can really put on one hell of a show. My instant thought was “The Hives, Jr.” And that’s not a bad thing at all — many reputable sources (myself included) have called that band’s act one of the best live shows currently touring. In particular, frontman Jesse Laz reminded me strikingly of Pelle Almqvist, down to the audience conversations. But not to shortchange the others, guitarist Kai Kennedy and bassist Jordan Laz (Jesse’s little brother) did their share to add to the wildly entertaining performance.

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Jesse Laz (right) and Kai Kennedy (left) harmonize during Locksley’s set on Monday night.

Back to Rooney — last night’s show as by no means their first adventure in Seattle, or to Chop Suey. In fact, drummer Ned Brower was raised in Bellevue. (Speaking of Brower, he played the show with a fractured left heel sustained jumping into a pool in Alabama. Luckily, that’s not his kick drum foot.)

Somehow, the show managed to be super chill and super exciting at the same time. Even as it’s blowing out your ears, as especially tends to happen at Chop Suey, Rooney’s music is incredibly easy to lose yourself in. There was far less stoppage and crowd interaction between songs than with Locksley, but all that meant was that they weren’t wasting any time not playing songs. The audience (myself included) seemed to be ok with that.

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Rooney frontman Robert Carmine sings his heart out on Monday night.

After covering The Band’s “The Weight,” the guys emerged for an encore with Brower at the center mic, tambourine in hand, to cover Neil Young's “Rockin’ in the Free World.” They ended with recent singles “When Did Your Heart Go Missing” and “I Should Have Been After You,” and everyone seemed really happy — especially that guy who was wasted by the bar.

 
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